Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Morrisons rule out move to Hitchin Town’s Top Field

A number of supermarkets have rule out a move to Hitchin Town's Top Field. Photo: Damion Roberts

A number of supermarkets have rule out a move to Hitchin Town's Top Field. Photo: Damion Roberts - Credit: Archant

The grocery giant long tipped as the front-runner to occupy a planned superstore on the site of Hitchin Town FC’s Top Field ground has officially confirmed: We’re out.

And other big retail names have been quick to rule themselves out of contention as well.

Tesco, which has been the name in the frame since the project was first mooted, told the Comet: “After reviewing the developer’s plans we have decided not to seek to lease the proposed new store.”

And when asked whether they would be interested in taking on the site in Fishponds Road, other major players said they weren’t interested.

The Comet asked supermarkets and a construction company whether they would be interested in developing the Top Field site.

Waitrose confirmed: “We have no plans to move our branch in Hitchin.” Sainsbury’s also said: “We have no plans for the site.”

Discount retailer Lidl said: “While Hitchin remains an area of interest to us, we cannot confirm interest in any specific sites at this stage.”

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Morrisons said: “We are not currently looking for a new store in Hitchin.” Asda refused to be drawn, saying: “We do not comment on rumour or speculation.” The Cow Commoners Trust, which holds the land and has granted a developer an option on the site for a project which could see the football club offered a new home on the outskirts of town, said this week: “No planning applications have been submitted by New Road (Clifton) Ltd for development of either Top Field or the Stevenage Road site.

“Where does this leave us at the moment? For people who disagree with the proposals, it is important their views are made known to those who will be involved in the planning process.”

North Herts District Council said: “We can confirm the council has not received a planning application for development of the Top Field site in Hitchin.”

But Hitchin Town’s chief executive Andy Melvin is still concerned.

He told the Comet yesterday: “All New Road have to do is put in a planning application to trigger the break clause in our lease before February 28 – which could then result in a supermarket being built on Top Field.

“Which supermarket it is we don’t know yet, following the Tesco press release stating they are not seeking the lease on the site.

“But what everyone has to keep at the forefront of their minds is if a planning application is put forward by New Road before the end of February – and if it is successful – then Top Field will become a supermarket in the future – which is exactly what 99.99 per cent of people in the town do not want.”

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